News Archives - Earth Charter

Earth Charter Youth Group to Advisor to the Ministry of Environment: Esther Kelechi Agbarakwe of Nigeria

esther-kelechi-agbarakweMy name is Esther Abgarakwe. I´m from Nigeria. My friends call me ¨Esther Climate¨—it´s a long story! I started an Earth Charter Youth Group in 2006 in Calabar. At that time, the Earth Charter was active in Nigeria but there was not much youth participation. It really pushed me to lobby and advocate for youth participation on environmental issues.

At that time, I participated in an Earth Charter E-Glo (Earth Charter Global Learning Opportunity) training programme that taught me a lot about social media. My first contact with blogging was through that programme and my blog won me a scholarship to go to a Conference in Scotland. That was my first travel abroad experience, and from that conference I met amazing people like the Elders. I asked one of them an interesting question in that forum and that sort of got me remembered around the world.

Since then, I have been working with the Elders for many years, now with a project call the Elders + Youngers project. It has been the biggest project of my life because I´ve gotten to work with four amazing people: Mary Robinson, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Desmond Tutu, and Fernando Cardoso.

esther-kelechi-agbarakwe-climate-actionFrom the blogging I learned from E-Glo, I´ve continued blogging a lot. Blogging has given me the opportunity to talk about so many things I like. One of the micro-blogs I use a lot is Facebook. On Facebook, I changed my time to ¨Esther Climate¨ because I wanted to interrupt conversations about politics among young people and intercept that with environmental issues and climate change—so I changed my name to ¨Esther Climate.¨

And the name stuck. When people see it, they pause and think, ¨Why Esther Climate?¨ And that´s an opportunity to change someone´s mindset, to raise awareness or improve knowledge in someone around environmental issues. They would ask the question about the name, and I would reply ¨Yes—this is what it means…¨ and then talk to them about climate change.

My favorite Earth Charter Principle is the first one- Care for the Community of Life. I love it because it makes me feel more connected to the human species and everything that is on Earth—whether it is a fly, a human being, or a plant. The Earth Charter was really my first entry into environmental issues. Its principles expanded my mind to see things differently (unusual as it may be where I come from). It could really interest you to know that Earth Charter covers a whole wide range of issues, from faith to humanity.

esther-kelechi-agbarakwe-workingNow I work as an Advisor to the Minister of the Environment. This is my career now; I think I´ll do environmental work for the rest of my life. And the [Earth Charter] Principle is still there.

When I was invited to join the Minister of the Environment as an Advisor, it was a dream come true. I accepted it of course! [Deputy Secretary General-Designate Amina J Mohammed] is an amazing person and [this job] has been the best thing of my life. I can see hands on the change I wanted to see happen. I’m the only young advisor—but it´s [youth] participation. We are moving from rhetoric to action. Young people have a lot of offer—they have experience, they have a vision, they are creative, and can do a lot!

Right now, I do a lot with technology which plays a big role in my work in terms of mobilizing young people—not only mobilizing them, but also empowering them, connecting them to resources, and giving them an opportunity to be informed on issues that affect them. In the next 40 years, they may have to lead.

I do all the creative stuff in the Ministry—communications, stake holders engagement, traveling around to all these Conferences to help to lobby because I understand the dynamics.

esther-kelechi-agbarakwe-radio-interviewIt gives me renewed hope that young people are now at the table, not just on the menu. The government recognizes their importance now. I remember when we used to scream and shout ¨I want to be involved! I want to be involved!¨ Now we are involved. That´s the biggest thing that´s happening for us.

I have my Earth Charter in Action book in my room. I don´t joke with it. I read it a lot. It reminds you where you´re going. It gives you that inspiration to keep going because it´s hard sometimes. It´s fun a lot of the time, but you always get to a crossroad at some point in your life. You have to look back and see that we´ve come a long way.

This interview of Esther Kelechi Agbarakwe was conducted in November 2016 by Earth Charter International Youth Projects Coordinator, Sarah Dobson, at COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco. The content has been edited for clarity and flow.

Continue Reading

AASHE endorses the Earth Charter!

AASHE Endorsement Earth CharterWe are happy to announce that the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has endorsed the Earth Charter.

We asked Julian Dautremont-Smith, Director of Programs of AASHE, to share with all of us what is the meaning of the Earth Charter for them and why it was important to endorse it. This is what he shared:

AASHE is pleased to endorse the Earth Charter.

We greatly value the Charter’s comprehensive approach to sustainability, especially the inclusion of social and economic justice, democracy and peace along with ecological integrity.

We have a similarly holistic understanding of sustainability and refer the Earth Charter as a key document in understanding sustainability in our Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a self-reporting framework used by hundreds of colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. For example, a course is counted as being sustainability-inclusive if it contributes towards realizing one or more of the principles outlined in the Earth Charter.

Continue Reading

Tribute to Henriette Rasmussen (1950-2017)

Henriette RasmussenIt is with deep regret that we announce the passing away of Henriette Rasmussen, former Member of Parliament and Minister of Education and Culture of Greenland.

As a member of the Earth Charter Commission, Henriette was very active in the Earth Charter Initiative since early 1997. Henriette was a specially warm and friendly human being. Together with Finn Lynge, she has brought light and a unique contribution to the Earth Charter drafting process, underlining the perspective from the Indigenous People throughout. Once the Earth Charter drafting process was over, she tirelessly continued to bring in the Earth Charter to Greenland, working hard in the translation and publication of materials, infusing it in radio and education programmes and projects she was involved. She was a bridge between the Global Earth Charter movement and the Inuit people and culture, especially within the Inuit Circumpolar Conference.

The Earth Charter International pays tribute to Henriette for her life. She will be missed. We are very grateful for her grace, good energy and efforts, which were not in vain, as it inspired the lives of many.

In this link you can find one of the articles she wrote.

Continue Reading

Earth Charter presentation in California by Professor Sam Crowell

Photo workshop Sam


On February 20, Sam Crowell presented an introduction to the Earth Charter to almost 150 people from a local community action group in Idyllwild, California. Idyllwild is a small mountain village in southern California that is surrounded by national and state forests, with snow-capped peaks rising to almost 11,000 feet in elevation. It is a community noted for its commitment to the arts and to the environment.


Photo 1

The group, “Indivisible Idyllwild,” was formed to engage the Idyllwild community in an on-going dialogue around issues and policies affecting the poor and disenfranchised, sustainability, and social equality of women, LGBT, and immigrants – all impacted by the rhetoric and mandates of the Trump administration. The group’s mission is to work toward “sustainable economic, environmental, and social justice for all,” focusing first on the community and region, but also joining with others to advance these causes nationally.

Sam pointed out that the Earth Charter offers a compatible vision that emphasizes respect for diversity, care for the environment and all communities of life, a call to social and economic justice, and the commitment to peace and non-violence.  Sam suggested that the Earth Charter principles and values can offer two significant things for the group: 1) inspiration and guidance for engaged action; and 2) a planetary vision that connects what is done locally to a shared vision of peoples around the world.

Foto SamLocal efforts make a difference. When the energy of those actions is combined with a planetary vision of love, care, and compassion, then it is amplified in positive and profound ways. Finding a role for the Earth Charter in these contexts makes the Charter relevant to today’s world. “Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.”

For the seventh time, Sam will be co-facilitating with Mirian Vilela a master class on Education, Ethics, and Values for Sustainability: Transformative Teaching and Learning with the Earth Charter at the Earth Charter Center in Costa Rica, on July 3 – 7, 2017.

Continue Reading

Transformative Learning and the Earth Charter Course

transformative-learning-hathawayFrom February 20 to 24, the Earth Charter Center for ESD successfully offered for the 3rd time the Executive Programme: “Education for Sustainability, Transformative Learning and the Earth Charter” facilitated by Mark Hathaway and Mirian Vilela.

A group of 23 people from different sectors have immersed themselves in this intensive week long programme to expand understanding on the Earth Charter, Education for Sustainable Development and experience related pedagogies of learning based on values for sustainability.

“(In this course I have acquired new knowledge) which has made me think about how we could explicitly apply the Earth Charter in organizational processes.” Participant’s evaluation (Costa Rica)

The course has been very interactive. Using hands, body, mind and spirit, participants have deepen their knowledge of the Earth Charter principles and transformative learning.

This course is offered in Spanish once a year, in February. We look forward to seeing you next year!

“I was fascinated by this course and for having the opportunity to meet such special people … The experience was both fabulous and necessary.” Participant’s evaluation (Costa Rica)



Continue Reading

Doctoral thesis on traditional stories as educational tools based on the Earth Charter

Tesis portadaIn 2016, Dr. Grian A. Cutanda, from the University of Granada, Spain, presented his doctoral thesis on the use of traditional stories as educational tools to convey a complex-systems worldview on the basis of systems thinking and the values and principles of the Earth Charter.

Dr. Cutanda analyzed and collected 336 myths, legends, fables and folktales from all around the world to illustrate the different principles of the Charter. His thesis advisors, Dr. Alfonso Fernández Herrería and Dr. Francisco Miguel Martínez Rodríguez, from the Faculty of Education of the University of Granada, have been involved for many years in the Earth Charter and in education research related to the role of emotions in education processes. Dr. Jane Brown, from Moray House School of Education of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, was the methodology director of the research work.

The author believes that the Education Sciences are called to play a decisive role in the necessary change of mentality that lead us to overcome the state of true planetary emergency in which systems scientists forecasts point to a breakdown, as the different “educations for change” have proven ineffective in achieving this social transformation.

Tesis 2The thesis attempts to offer two different contributions: a theoretical proposal, which aims to overcome the shortcomings of educations for change; and a practical proposal, based on the previous one, which seeks to provide a vast repository of educational resources aimed at social change in worldview.

The theoretical proposal, set up on the works of Stephen Sterling, Gregory Bateson and Donella H. Meadows, among others, includes the development of a worldview education as a confluence node for the different educations for change, as well as the introduction of transpersonal education in teacher training.

The practical proposal is based on Ecopedagogy, Ethics of Care, Deep Ecology and the Earth Charter, and offers some initial tools for education in a complex-systems, integrative, holistic and ecological worldview.

Dr. Cutanda´s research was awarded the ¨sobresaliente cum laude¨ distinction and it was included among the candidates to the special prize of doctorate at the University of Granada, which means that if it results winner of the prize, the doctoral thesis will be published by the university. This excellent piece of work is available in Spanish, with an English summary.

Click here to read the English summary of the thesis.


Continue Reading

Earth Charter Affiliate shares case studies on Leaders in Education for Sustainability

Kim Corrigan photoKimberly Corrigan, Vice President for Global Leadership at Global Visionaries and Earth Charter International Affiliate, wrote an article with three case studies on Leaders in Education for Sustainability, published in the Shelburne Farms Sustainable Schools Project 2016 on Educating for Sustainability.

The article includes a triple case study involving Noah Zeichner, award-winning high school social studies teacher at Chief Sealth International High School in Seattle, Jing Fong, inspiring storyteller and manager of YES! Magazine, a nonprofit and subscriber-supported independent media organization, and co-founders of The SEED Collaborative, Stacy Smedley and Ric Cochrane, two architects focused on transforming schools into exceptional environments for learning.

¨In my view, educating for sustainability, by its very nature, demands that we offer our K-12 students hands-on, inquiry-based, interdisciplinary curricula that build core academic knowledge, as well as skills in critical-, creative-, and systems thinking¨, expressed Corrigan.

The author offers a context for educating for sustainability: global issues, and suggests a tool to explore the world as a Community and to help students and teachers engage in robust discussion and take on action projects using the world as community. This tool is the Earth Charter.

Kim Corrigan article 2Corrigan stated: ¨Global sustainability education encourages educators and students to engage together in developing the skills and knowledge needed to understand 21st century challenges, envision effective and equitable remedies, and implement positive solutions that serve the common good and the planet upon which we all rely¨.

 The author describes The Charter as a powerful and provocative primary document that calls for interdependence and universal and differentiated responsibility for creating a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world, and says it is ideal for educators and students to discuss how it was created and what it proclaims, and to debate its vision and values.

Corrigan suggests that teachers and students can also use the 16 principles of the Charter (which are available in over 50 languages), to learn about other complex topics and perplexing tensions, such as independence and interdependence, individual action and structural change, mitigation and adaption, and the role and value of certain realities often missing from discussions in our particular culture of surety and rugged individualism: realities of limits, doubt, forgiveness, empathy, fragility, insecurity, and impermanence.


To read the three case studies mentioned by the author go to:

Continue Reading

French Art magazine “HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture” publishes art book inspired by the Earth Charter


book smallHEY! – 4 DEGREES ART, is a new art book inspired by the Earth Charter and developed by Anne & Julien and Zoé Forget, which brings together 102 artists from 20 countries. The book, published by Ankama/619 Editions, counts with the Preface and Afterword by French scientist Jean Claude Ameisen.

Alarmed with the scale of contemporary challenges and ecological degradation, Anne & Julien, founders and editors in chief of the art magazine Hey! Mordern Art & Pop Culture and Zoé Forget, in charge of photography service for the art magazine, decided to embark in this new project to spread the Earth Charter through their work in the field of art (painting, sculpture, drawing). In this context they have invited artists to reflect and answer some questions that emerges from the Earth Charter Text.


You can find more in the following links:

Following is a text from the authors:

Exploring the language of arts

By: Anne & Julien and Zoé Forget

Photo 4For thirty years, our energy has concentrated on the observation of the influence of pop countercultures and art that emerges in the margins of the world´s main currents; This process has led us to build HEY! Modern art & pop culture in 2010, an artistic project around three axes: an art magazine, exhibitions and performances (under the name of HEY! La Cie) – three ways of exploring pop culture in a non-conventional way in all its complexity. As individuals, this autonomous initiative has enabled us to affirm an artistic vision (the return of the figurative in the field of contemporary art) by serving the multiplicity of practices that nourish it; The outlook of works and artists presented in the magazine is often ignored by the academic radars of art criticism, placing it at a distance from a hegemonic, industrial and commercial culture built with the aim of entertaining. Switching from awareness to engagement by linking local action with global consequences: this is the militant perimeter we have agreed to work on – Today HEY! brings together a large network of artists in the world.

Photo 1Currently, a lot of alarming information about environmental problems is available in the public sphere – of which we are part of. A year ago, we decided, as ordinary citizens, that it was no longer acceptable not to react to the situation in which humankind plunged the planet. But the question was how to position HEY! in the midst of the complex range of environmental issues, while our only weapon remains the art? This questioning mobilized our research and leads us to the discovery of The Earth Charter. The humanistic character of this document, its participatory perspectives and its accessibility have nurtured our decision: The Earth Charter has become the catalyst of our new project HEY! 4 DEGREES ART. This book is for us a fighting tool and a statement.

Photo 3The collection of artists who contributed to this book work from territories irrigated with fundamentals, references, diverse filiations and crosscutting areas of influence from which a mapping of connivances is born. HEY! Constitutes in this forest a kind of “guide” suggesting a different approach, beyond the conventional classifications, a stylistic diversity dialogue. Included in the broad perspectives art & environment, the aesthetic space shared in this special issue is not defined by the grammar of eco art or environmental art. Commenting systematically on the imaginary as a safe haven, these artists all discourse in a figurative way, facing a contemporary art dominated by a work of installations and / or conceptual works. It is interesting to note a natural association with a political and social content and the artistic gestures stemming from the conceptual and performative heritage of the 1960s and / or the video art; A kind of “natural environment” in sum, where the denunciation / claim / reaction are in fact legitimized. In this context, figurative painting of the 21st century has not yet been observed as a visionary territory and / or a wake-up caller, but in the fiber of its creative energy the environmental concern is printed as a principle under-stretched or active.

Photo 2We therefore agreed to ask to many artists eleven questions based on reflections on the Earth Charter text. They are neither “eco painters” nor “eco warriors” nor ecologists using art to coagulate their thinking. Together with us they gathered around a variation of points of view and approaches, all concerned and upset by the state of the world, deeply disturbed by the treatment to which our planet is subjected, they have seized a possibility to express themselves, through their favorite medium of expression, as artists and citizens of the Earth, at a time when it is more common to see an artist producing exclusively to supply a work to a dedicated market.

We plan to develop an exhibition which would be a logical continuation following this project.


A book directed by:

Anne & Julien: Over the years and in almost 30 years of activity, Anne & Julien’s work is recognized for its ability to unveil new talents and open fields of exploration hitherto unknown. Specialists in alternative arts and outsider pop, they work on two axes already specified in 1990 on the occasion of the opening of their art gallery L’Hydre de L’Art, Paris. In connection with the preoccupations and interests of the present time, they make reappear the forgotten worlds, choosing themes and works that tend to make visible an avant-garde; And decipher sharp subjects offering an alternative to the vision of a normative one-sided culture. Visionaries as to the influence of pop countercultures and alternative art, the Anne & Julien duo is the source of several major and now historical exhibitions in France (Miyazaki vs Moebius, Museum of the Monnaie of Paris – 2004/2005 // Tattooists, Tattoos, musée du quai Branly, Paris – 2014/2015). Meanwhile, they have set up three founding exhibitions of pop outsider and figurative pop art: HEY! Modern art and pop culture at the Halle St Pierre Museum, Paris (2011 – 2013 – 2015), the first of its kind in Europe and in the museum, named after the eponymous magazine created in March 2010). On paper as well as on rails, Anne & Julien have demonstrated their ability to open fields of exploration hitherto unknown, crossing borders which have subsequently demonstrated their virtuality.

Zoé Forget is a photographer, a graduate of ENS Louis Lumière (Paris) and a doctor in aesthetics, science and technology of the arts. The body, as a marginal subject, a political place and expression of anti-norms both visual and social, is at the heart of his photographic and theoretical works – his thesis, published in 2015 at L’Harmattan, dealt with the representation of non-standard bodies in contemporary photography. Focusing in studio work and directing, Zoé Forget produced eight photographs for the exhibition “Tattooists, tattooed” at the musée du quai Branly (Paris), presented in the last room – the photography cabinet. This series will also be presented at the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto) as part of the exhibition “Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art “from April 2016. Zoé Forget is photo editor in the editorial office HEY! Since the n ° 8 (September 2011), official photographer of HEY! The ICE, co-author of HEY! TATTOO with Anne & Julien and pilot projects at their side since 2014.

Preface and Postface by Jean-Claude Ameisen:
Doctor and researcher, professor of immunology at Paris Diderot University, his research concerns the origin of the phenomena of cellular self-destruction during the evolution of the living and the role of “programmed cell death” in the development of diseases . Engaged in ethical reflection, in November 2012, he was appointed Chairman of the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE), he chaired the Ethics and Scientific Committee of the International Foundation for Applied Research (FIRAH) and the Inserm Ethics Committee. Involved in the development of relations between science, culture and society, he is director of the Center for Life Studies (Institut des Humanités de Paris – Paris Diderot University), a member of the Scientific Council of the International College of Philosophy and author of Many scientific works. Since 2010, he is the author of the program Sur les épaules by Darwin (France Inter). The subjects deal with the work of Charles Darwin and some of the most recent scientific works resonated with literature, philosophy, ethics, poetry, and art. The 2013 CB News Grand Prize awarded the Best Broadcasts Award to Darwin’s On the Shoulders.

Continue Reading

Conference focused on the Earth Charter in Tatarstan, Republic of Russia

By: Vladimir Zakharov

Professor, doctor of biological Sciences, head of the Center for sustainable development and ecosystem health of the Institute of developmental biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Tatarstan 1In October 2016, a two-day international scientific-practical conference took place titled “Earth Charter – a practical tool for solving the fundamental problems of sustainable development”.  The event brought together scientists and experts from different parts of Russia and other countries to discuss topical issues related to the environment and sustainable development. The plenary session held in the Tatarstan State Council Hall was attended by 130 people involving governmental officials, representatives of the business communities, major religious denominations in the country, and non-governmental organizations.

Participants at the conference received greetings from the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, the founding president of Green Cross International, Mikhail Gorbachev, former Director General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, and other international organizations.

Tatarstan 2In 2001 Tatarstan became the first region in the world where the Earth Charter was adopted at political level and found practical application and commitment was made by the parliament to implement its principles and this event was a way to renew its commitment.

In his welcoming speech, Farid Mukhametshin, Chairman of the State Council of Tatarstan and chairman of the political council of the Republican public movement “Tatarstan – New Century”, said that this conference was an effort to stress the importance of focusing on the solutions of environmental problems through the most important social values – a culture of peace, harmony and justice. The head of the parliament of the Republic emphasized that, in addition to creating the material conditions for a decent life, a priority for national authorities is to maintain a “culture of peace”, “ecological integrity”, and interethnic and interreligious dialogue”.

Tatarstan 3The Republic of Tatarstan funds long-term environmental programmes with more than 15 billion rubles a year. An example of successful solution of environmental problems is the implementation of the state programme “Development of motor fuel market in the Republic of Tatarstan for 2013-2023″, which allowed to reduce emissions by 13 thousand tons per year.

According to Marat Galeev, one of the authors of the project which seeks the implementation of the principles of the Earth Charter in Tatarstan and Deputy Chairman of State Council Committee on economy, investments and entrepreneurship, “human impact on the environment has increased so much that it jeopardizes the very existence of mankind. If the temperature changes on the Earth only one degree, it can have catastrophic consequences for a number of countries today where life flourishes. But ecology is only one of the threats. The Earth Charter four pillars brings together and affirms the relationship of universal challenges: ecological integrity, the preservation of the integrity of life, sustainable economic development and the principles of non-violence. Deterioration of the ecological balance logically leads to negative changes in other realms: global warming is causing natural disasters, affecting the economy, therefore, increases the threat of violent problem solving”

Tatarstan 4Speaking about the fourth principle of the Earth Charter – the principle of Non-violence and Peace, Marat Galeev said that Tatarstan represents an example of successful solution of conflict situations. – “This is very important because in the most troubled years our Republic largely contributed to the preservation of Russia as an integral state”.

I think the implementation of the principles of the Earth Charter is a good test for the level of development of any country or region, –The point the Earth Charter makes requires change in people’s attitudes towards nature and the world. And Tatarstan is a pioneer in the implementation of this vision.


The Conference addressed different themes in 5 sections (Sections 1,2, and 5 focused on the Earth Charter):

Section:  Theme:
Section 1 Development and Implementation of the Principles of the Earth Charter as the basis of integrative approach to the Sustainable Development Problems and Solution
Section 2 Environmental Strategy of the Earth Charter – A Fundamental Basis for Comprehensive Solutions in the field of Ecology and Environmental Management
Section 3 Current Development of Industrial Ecology and Security
Section 4 Socio-Economic Issues of Sustainable Development
Section 5 Practical Measures for Promotion and Implementation of the Principles of the Earth Charter


Continue Reading

How can a Government use the Earth Charter? news from Mexico

Congreso Michoacan Adopta Carta TierraHow can a Government use the Earth Charter?

In Mexico, interesting efforts are being led by civil society, in this case by the Mexican Earth Charter Network, coordinated by Mateo Castillo, that has promoted that the Chamber of Senators, Federal Legislators, and Congresses of several States (Durango, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala), sign agreements where they adopt and commit to the principles and values of the Earth Charter as an ethical framework for sustainable development.

The text of the Agreement adopted by the Congress of the State of Michoacán can be found in this link.

In addition to adopting the principles of the Earth Charter as an ethical framework, the Agreement also calls upon “the holders of the Executive Power, the Judicial Branch of the State, and the constitutionally autonomous organs of the State to consider the Earth Charter as an instrument guiding decisions to be more aligned with sustainability as well as promoting its content. ”

This is an example of how the Earth Charter, in the legislative sphere, can fulfill the important function of influencing the legislative policies of a country and of a State, to act in accordance with its a set of global ethical principles, but also, as an instrument that can assist in the fulfillment of international human rights standards. The legislative congresses of several states in Mexico see the Earth Charter as an instrument that will strengthen their legislative work, such is the case of the Chamber of Senators and Federal Legislators, and the Congresses of Durango, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala.


Continue Reading

Read the Earth Charter

We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future.
Download the Charter